26th January 2023

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MGNREGA Social Audit Unit (SAU) in Jharkhand

In what the Jharkhand government says is the first such step by a state, the Ministry of Rural Development has begun to capture the demand for labor under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), thanks to its Social Audit Unit (SAU), generating nearly 6 lakh of Trabajar requests in about a month since the system launched in mid-August.

  • According to officials, this is a big shift in the labor demand process – separating demand creation and implementing agencies – and is likely to change the way MGNREGA operates in the world. the state.
  • Illustrating how much demand for labor has increased, SAU State Coordinator Gurjeet Singh said that during the corresponding period of the last three fiscal years, about 2 lakh days of labor have been generated per person; under MGNREGA, a representative from each household is entitled to 100 working days per year.
  • Labor demands were previously generated through “Rozgaar Sewaks” – there is one in every panchayat in the state – who went from village to village and raised awareness of the MGNREGA concept, obtained requests work, sanctioned projects and ultimately made payments. It was a long and tedious process.
  • The SAU, which comes under the Department of Rural Development, created to “promote transparency and accountability in the implementation” of various programs, is now responsible for generating job applications.
  • Request for Gasoline Work: Under MGNREGA, work is only started when a person requests work for the creation of an asset. In this case, the worker can receive unemployment benefits in case the government does not provide him with work within 15 days.
  • However, the culture of demanding work and getting a receipt – when work should be sanctioned – from authorities could never be speeded up in Jharkhand, as in other parts of the country, due to a conflict of interest, because the same team of people was responsible for generating and sanctioning the demand for work.
  • This, officials say, is easier, as there are more SAU staff on the ground, doing social audits of work already done and in progress, and may lead to more people demanding work than Rozgar Sewaks does. could, given the multiple roles they had. to play.
  • Aradhana Patnaik, rural development secretary for Jharkhand, said union demands had started to wane due to a strike by MGNREGA staff, including Rozgar Sewaks, for more than a month since the end of July. But with many migrant workers returning from other states during the pandemic and the nationwide shutdown, demand for work was high, she noted.
  • According to government figures, 17.11 lakh people have so far worked under MGREGA in Jharkhand during the current fiscal year, generating 419.71 lakh working days per person.

“SAU team members started capturing requests and sending them to a dedicated email and WhatsApp number…. So far 5.86,000 workers have applied for work in Jharkhand through this process and officials are facing the heat as not providing work will mean payment of unemployment benefit, ”

said the coordinator of the SAU
  • A clear sign that MGNREGA has emerged as a safety net for billions amid the economic distress triggered by Covid-19, work cards have been issued to over 83 million new households under the program in the first five months of the current fiscal year.
  • Significantly, this number, from April 1 to September 3, is higher than the annual increase of the last seven years for which data is available on the NREGA portal.
  • This is an increase of 28.32% compared to the 64.70 lakhs of new work cards issued during the year 2019-2020. This sharp increase in new work cards comes at a time when large numbers of migrants have returned to their villages as a result of Covid.
  • Of the new 83.02 lakh labor cards, the highest were added in Uttar Pradesh (21.09 lakh), followed by Bihar (11.22 lakh), West Bengal (6.82 lakh), of Rajasthan (6.58 lakh) and Madhya Pradesh (5.56 lakh) – states which have received large numbers of returning migrants.
  • Also in percentage terms, growth in new job cards was highest in Uttar Pradesh (173 percent): 21.09 lakh in new cards, compared to 7.72 lakh last year. The UP is followed by Andhra Pradesh (154%) and Rajasthan (69%).
  • According to the MGNREGA, each rural household is entitled to a work card that contains the names and photographs of all adult household members who can apply for and receive work.
  • According to the MGNREGA rules, the work card can be canceled if a household has “permanently migrated to urban areas; or to a different gram of panchayat; or it is proven to be a duplicate; or it was registered on the basis of false documents ”.
  • Data shows that 10.39 NREGA lakh work cards have been eliminated so far this fiscal year; 13.97 lakh job cards were removed in 2019-20.
  • As of September 3, 2020, the cumulative number of labor cards stood at 14.36 million rupees.
  • At least 6.5 lakh households have already completed 100 days of employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) in five months of the current fiscal year.
  • The data available on the NREGA portal shows that of the 5.73 crore of households that benefited from working under the rural employment guarantee scheme from April 1 to September 4 this year, 6.5 lakh completed 100 days of employment.
  • This number is expected to rise soon, as more than 30 lakh households have completed 81-99 days of employment so far. The data also shows that around 19.58 Lakh households completed between 71 and 80 days of work.
  • In the last fiscal year, 5.48 million households benefited from the program and 40.64 million households completed 100 days of work.
  • For the past six years, the number of households that completed 100 days of work under the program has been in the range of 24 to 52 lakh, but is expected to reach a new record during the current fiscal year.
  • The total number of households that have benefited from working under MGNREGA has already reached a record 5.73 million rupees in just five months of the current fiscal year.
  • Under MGNREGA, each rural household, with an adult member volunteering to perform unskilled manual labor, is entitled to at least 100 days of paid employment per exercise.
  • Although article 3 (1) of MGNREGA establishes “no less than one hundred days” of work per rural household during a financial year, it has de facto become an upper limit because NREGAsoft does not allow the entry of employment data greater than 100 days in a home during a financial year, unless expressly requested by the State or territory of the Union.
  • However, in some cases the government allows an additional 50 days of paid work. For example, each household of a listed tribe in a forest area is entitled to 150 days of employment, provided these families have no other private property than the rights to land granted under the Rights Act. 2016.
  • In addition, the government, pursuant to section 3 (4) of the MGNREGA, can provide an additional 50 days of unskilled labor during a fiscal year in rural areas where a drought or any natural calamity has occurred. has been notified. Maharashtra allows employment beyond 100 days under its own employment guarantee system.
  • As a result of the pandemic, there has been a demand to increase the 100-day employment limit. On June 17, during a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the response to Covid-19, the head of the JDU and Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, demanded an increase in the number of working days under MGNREGA. from 100 to 200 during this exercise. Congress also urged the Center to double the number of insured working days.
  • Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor activist Kishan Shakti Sangathan, says the minimum number of working days under the program should be increased to 200 per person per year from 100 days per household this year.
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